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Laura Johnson (Class of 2002)

Day Division

Prior to coming to NESL, I was employed for several months at the Office of the Solicitor for the Department of the Interior working on various research projects. This employment was the start of my burgeoning desire to do environmental work. While in New England, I have enjoyed taking Environmental Law and Administrative Law. I participated in the Administrative Law Clinic where I worked at the Department of Environmental Protection Agency on various issues. One project involved research for the state's position that the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) does not preempt Massachusetts' ability to regulate and respond to releases. This comment to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), is still awaiting a final decision.

I worked this summer with the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization for which I have great respect. The employment was part of the Rappaport Law and Public Service Fellowship Recipient: I was one of twelve recipients chosen out of over 150 applicants from the six Boston area law schools. My mentor was Secretary Robert Durand of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. I have enjoyed speaking with him about his successes in working on environmental issues in Massachusetts. Through my contact with him, I have learned it is important to listen to people's concerns and be perceived as fair. Although not everyone will agree with the final decision you make as a public official, respect is so often earned simply by the manner in which the challenge was approached. I am very interested in continuing to work on land conservation issues in particular as well as the improvement of the quality of life of our communities in general.

March 2002